It's not what you say, but the language you say it in

Posted on December 30, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

Not only can speaking more than one language help one travel to exciting destinations and experience other cultures around the world, it can also protect against cognitive impairment after stroke.

A new study reports that multilingual people experienced better outcomes after stroke than people who spoke only one language.

The authors evaluated data from 608 stroke patients from India who were part of a stroke registry. In this study, approximately 40% of bilingual patients had normal cognitive function after stroke, but only 20% of single-language patients had the same. Additionally, bilingual patients had better memory and attention following stroke compared to their single-language counterparts.

In addition to benefiting stroke outcomes, bilingualism has been associated with delayed onset of cognitive decline in other studies. However, the actual benefits of speaking several languages is still debated owing to inconsistencies in study design and measurement of cognitive abilities. The findings of the current study, in particular, may not be widely applicable. People from the region in which the study was conducted speak as many as four languages and commonly switch among them during the day. Cognitive benefits of multilingualism may not be as pronounced in regions in which the need to function in more than one language is not as great.

While bilingualism helped patients fare better in this study, it is likely that any mentally challenging task could offer similar protective benefits for cognition. Switching languages requires executive function similar to playing a musical instrument or completing Sudoku puzzles. Any intellectually stimulating task that is pursued over time may be able to offer similar cognitive benefits and prevent impairment due to normal aging or stroke.

Read the full article at the link below.

Category(s):Cognitive Problems Amnesia / Dementia

Source material from Brain Blogger

Mental Health News